Reese Kaplan -- Jealous of Others' Shiny New Toys


Sometimes it’s frustrating being a Mets fan.  Scratch that.  Rarely it’s not frustrating being a Mets fan.  The Hot Stove time of the year at least gives a reprieve to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th guessing of lineup and in-game managerial decisions.  Now the focus is on the GM and the owners who always seem either content with the status quo or unwilling to embrace the realities that people get hurt. 

Going into this season they’re banking on 5 starters, all of whom missed time with injuries last year.  The only healthy one is now going to be pitching in Atlanta.  Behind them you have two pitchers in Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who shined when it counted most, but in Lugo’s case there’s not much of a pedigree behind the stellar performance.  The bullpen is without Jerry Blevins, Fernando Salas and likely a month or more without Jeurys Familia. Even with them the innings allocated to others in the pen were often a crap shoot.    

Yes, the club has retained the services of Yoenis Cespedes and Rene Rivera.  Kudos for that.  However, as they evidently field calls about their left handed hitting surplus, other teams are inking players to free agent contracts to improve their roster and they’re making trades.  Resources are scarce and the longer you wait, the more likely you’ll find fuzzy hot dogs rather than filet mignon when you open the fridge. 

Take, for example, the Washington Nationals.   A few years ago they had arguably the best starting rotation in baseball and they chose to add Max Scherzer.  How’d that work out for them? 

Last year the Chicago Cubs already had enviable hitting and still added Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler (FA who returned on a one-year deal) and Jason Heyward.  All they did was win the World Series.

Now spending isn’t a guarantee of success.  After all, look at the Yankees for the past several years where they haven’t finished at the top of their division since 2012.  The Angels and Tigers are two other franchises that bought into the spend-to-win philosophy but it has pretty much backfired. 

However, if you look at the top payrolls in MLB right now you see names like the Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants and Rangers, teams that are indeed contending for the top. 

Consequently when you see the Mets say things like they won’t be players for the best available bullpen arms – Chapman, Jansen and Melancon – you have to wonder about the commitment to winning.  In their haste to lower payroll they are going to trade one or both of Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson.  What happens if, for example, Yoenis Cespedes gets hit by a golf cart?  Do we seriously think Brandon Nimmo or Ty Kelly is going to replace him?

I have no problem with trading both of these players if the return makes sense.  Can you get some top prospects to fill in the fairly barren minor league cupboard?  Can you find a relief pitcher or leadoff hitter or catcher who can help immediately?  The spin, however, is about payroll exclusively and that fuels the fire of people who refer to the Wilpons as cheap.

Hey, when you just forked over $110 million for Yoenis Cespedes, I don’t think you can properly call them cheap.  Misguided perhaps – like paying David Wright when his numbers were in decline at Citifield and Madoff had bankrupted the franchise – or failing to be in on foreign players who could help the club.  My criticism is more about banking too heavily on health when 2016 should have demonstrated to everyone that people do indeed get hurt and miss significant amounts of time.  Even Ron Darling went on record recently saying that you have to plan as if you will get nothing whatsoever from David Wright.  Granted, Jose Reyes is a better alternative than Eric Campbell, but you could certainly make the case that Evan Longoria or Todd Frazier would be better still.  

I’m frankly tired of the club preparing for a marathon each year and then thinking the Modell’s off-brand shoes will hold up for the duration.  


Mack Ade said...

Reese -

Good morning.

Trading one or both of Granderson and Bruce is still speculation. Plus, we have no confirmation on what player or players would come our way in trades for one or both of these guys.

I know speculation makes for good writing material, but I'm going to wait and see what happens here.

Also, I agree on your pointing out that the Cubs and Nats added to their already talented club in order to insure their success. Then should we really consider trading a bat like Bruce?

I don't care how questionable his defense is and how many times he strikes out. Home run hitters strike out a lot and Bruce (added to a lineup with Cespedes in it) would be quite deadly in a normal Bruce year.

Mack Ade said...

One more things...

The Mets went ino this Hot Stove season with only 5 outfielders to consider for their parent club... Bruce, Granderson, Conforto, Lagares, and Nimmo.


Yoenes Cespedes.

I'd say that's a good Hot Stove start.

Reese Kaplan said...

I acknowledged it's a good start. I'm just concerned it might also be the end.

Reese Kaplan said...

Apparently I'm not the only one raising this point:


Mack Ade said...

The first line of the Debbie Downer article you linked above spoke volumes -

"The Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes AGAIN and in doing so they are on course for making the same mistakes they made in the 2015/2016 off season."


Cespedes is now a mistake.

This is like reading the mainstream press articles on President-Elect Trump.

I know there is a certain percentage of Mets writers that always take a pessimistic view on the direction of the Mets. I consider you one of them, which is fine.

I only hope this team goes all the way once more in my lifetime so I can see a change in this approach.

Reese Kaplan said...

If you continued reading the article it said that the problem is not that they signed Cespedes, but that they are likely going to stop there, well short of the changes they need to make to be competitive -- the very same point I raised.

Dallas said...

I think Bruces is a net negative to the team. He simply can't play the field, his OBP is low and he is streaky. Yes he had a high RBI total last year, but when you hit behind the guy with the highest on base percentage you are going to get a lot of opportunities. Playing Bruce takes away at bats from better players. I would be surprised if we get anything for him beyond low level prospects. GM's are not the pushovers they use to be, you hope you find a GM like Dave Stewart who will give you the overall number 1 draft pick and other major leaguers for a slightly above average pitcher but that is less likely to happen. (if you can't tell I'm bitter that Arizona rebuilt Atlantas farm team for them for free, will rank up there as one of the worst trades). Anyways its nice to think we have a plethora of infielders with Rosario, Dom Smith, Cecchini, Rivera as backups if any of our big guys get hurt. RP needs work but you hope that your SP is deep enough that you dont regret losing Seward in the rule 5 draft.

Thomas Brennan said...

I would like the Mets to trade Grandy or Bruce IF we get value, otherwise dump one before the trade deadline. Having a lineup with Walker and Duda still in it, if those 2 guys were kept, would it be that unreasonable to think this team could hit 250 homers? They hit about 220 last year with Wright and Duda missing most of the season, Cespedes, Walker and Cabrera missing a bunch too, and having slap hitters like Kelly, Nimmo, and Campbell sucking up ABs that Bruce would get. 250 would be nice.

Nats, if they trade for Sale and McCutcheon, will be in super-bold, win now mode. The Mets signing Chapman or Jantsen would largely offset that.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, that picture might give me nightmares!

eraff said...

You need some patience regarding player movement. Bruce and Grandy are very specific additions for their target teams...teams are not building around them, they're going to be addressing a specific need with Grandy and Bruce. The market for these guys wont be rushed too far ahead of some of the other Long Term Pieces in the market.

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